Pittsburgh Ice Arena-based club competing in Tier II U16 national tournament
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Ten new faces in the Pittsburgh Huskies locker room may have given the impression of a rebuilding season.
In reality, it may have brought all 18 players closer.
“That's a little scary from a coaching standpoint,” coach Vic Whann said. “But, they're very willing to accept their role as a team. There's no individualism on our team. We play together.”
The Huskies, by virtue of their USA Hockey Tier II Under 16-AA state championship, earned a spot in the organization's national championship tournament, being held through Sunday in Troy, Mich.
The Huskies are based out of Pittsburgh Ice Arena, formerly Valley Sports Complex, in New Kensington. Players are primarily from the Alle-Kiski Valley, but some travel from as far away as Butler and Shaler.
Of the three preseason goals the team set, they were only able to fulfill one: a state title.
The Huskies fell short of winning an International Silver Sticks regional tournament. The team may have been plagued by overconfidence in a semifinal loss in league championship play.
The third time was the charm, though, as the Huskies went 3-1, defeating top-seeded North Pittsburgh Wildcats en route to the title.
“We played them four times (during the season),” Whann said. “The beauty was that if you see a team four times, you know how they play. Our boys executed the game plan to a T.”
Leading the offensive charge is team captain Christian Miller, a sophomore at Kittanning.
“He is a captain in every sense of the word. On the ice, off the ice and in our locker room,” Whann said. “Even when we're away from the ice, he's our leader.”
Miller led the team with 71 points (42 goals, 29 assists) in 40 games.
At the high school level, Miller led all of PIHL Class A with 82 points in 22 games and helped Kittanning to the Penguins Cup semifinals.
“I put a lot of pressure on him. I tell him: ‘As you go, we go,' and he responds,” Whann said. “I couldn't say enough good things about him.”
Since early December, Clay Bachman has stood between the pipes. His contributions can be seen on the stat sheet and felt in the locker room.
The Butler native posted a 17-4-1 record and a .911 goals-against average through 22 games. Bachman took over the starting job when fellow Cley Pujol's season ended following hip surgery in February.
“(Bachman) is a phenomenal goalie. He's the guy that we depend on too much. That's the best way I can describe it,” Whann said. “He does such a great job for us. I think we leave him alone way too much to make a save, but most of the time he does.”
As national tournament play gets under way, Whann has high hopes for his team.
“If we could come out of our division (at nationals) at No. 1 or No. 2,” he said, “the sky is the limit.”
Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers cut Scobee, sign free agent kicker Boswell
- Burnett pitches well in farewell, but Pirates lose to Reds
- Kessel addition, better health could have Pens scoring like it’s 1990s
- Are Pirates better positioned to win it all this postseason?
- New book credits Nunn for Steelers’ 1970s success
- More employers adopt generous leave policies
- Pitt holds off Virginia Tech in ACC opener
- Penguins at a glance entering 2015-16 season
- Penguins release Gonchar, send Pouliot down
- Would-be Troy Hill carjackers scared off by sirens
- Shaler man charged in death of girl, 6, not prosecuted in repeated alcohol cases